Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Five Years Ago.

Five years ago, to this day, my blog was born.  Born out of hope for a new beginning in my life and born to demonstrate that those of us who have mental health issues, have an important message to share.  For we are more than just our illness, so much more.  
My mental health concerns were caused when a series of events conspired to nearly destroy me. Physical, financial and worst of all, psychological bullying at work that I endured for over eight years, reduced me to a quivering wreck.  I knew I was losing my mind.  I began to drink.  Drank to oblivion to blot out the pain of the bullying and blot out the fear of losing my mind.  And the evil irony was that the drink that had become my best friend, became my worst enemy.  There I was, a pathetic, incoherent man, barely clinging onto the remaining fragments of his sanity..  A spectator in some bizarre play watching my life fall to bits.  
And then there was the woman that I loved, the women I was there for in her time of torment, the lady that I rescued from a life too horrible to talk about.  Yet when I became ill, when she'd had enough, my wife, my beloved wife, got pregnant and I wasn't the father.  Then she left, pregnant with another man's child and took our little eight year old boy, Tristan, to start a new life, a new family, with her new man.   I was left to rot in our house.  
And then, out of work, out of hope, I spent night and day drinking myself into a drunken stupor as the memories of a now empty house, embraced and choked my remaining shreds of dignity.  I drank until that day, in one last act of compassion, my now former spouse, contacted my doctor and I was stretchered off to hospital.  That first week I nearly died.  I spent five weeks in hospital, alone and scared.   
Of course, I survived.  A tale of freedom and optimism has ensued as I do my utmost to turn negatives into positives.   

And after the job had ended and after the drinking was no longer a part of my life, I rekindled a dream, a dream of a little boy who always wanted to write.  Through the power, the magic, the therapy of the written word, I have tried to express the wonder and pure innocence that speaks within from the 'inner child'.   Thus, the 'wee folks' became a profound and poignant series of enchanting tales on this blog.  Their message of rejoicing in diversity and that no judgement must be made.  Their message that true love has no boundaries.

Then we have the true talent on this blog.  Yes indeed, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star.  Penny, despite her fame, has remained truly humble and even the pesky pursuits of the 'puppyarazzi' have not stopped her from pawblishing pawstings providing pleasingly pleasant prose.  Penny even has her very own award, "The Gold Framed Dog Blog Award", which has brought much joy to the lucky recipients, the world over and beyond.   Penny, when you read this.  I want to thank you for the times you have taken over my blog and tried, in vain, to show me how to become a better writer.  

Here is my son stroking the head of Penny.  Such moments warm the heart.. Yes, my little boy, now a young man, who came to live with his dad when he was twelve.  All I ever wanted for him was to live in a house where he was happy.  And a brave little boy had to finally tell his mother that he wanted to live with his father.  

I hope you are sitting comfortably.  Yes, I'm talking to you.  Oh, I took the photo myself.   Well, nobody else was brave enough.  Anyhow, before I wrap up this anniversary blog, I have an announcement.  Delores, a remarkably kind lady, over at this site, thefeatherednest , is having a virtual blog party to celebrate the fifth anniversary of my blog, yes my blog, my shy, humble and unassuming blog.  It would be great if you attended the party over at her blog.   I'm sure you will wear your best party clothes.  Or no clothes.  I shall be wearing my white dinner jacket that was purchased in Nassau, Bahamas.  I should also inform you that there is growing demand that I star as the next James Bond.
Five years ago this blog was born.   Five years on I remain resolute in my determination to show that mental health issues are just a small part of who I am.  I have done my very best to live with, rather than suffer from my mental health issues.  We are all in this together.  I rejoice in the diversity we share.  Further awareness brings further understanding.   Truly, we can live our lives with realistic positive anticipation, rather than negative speculation.  Here's to a kinder, caring, more understanding world for you, for me, for all of us.  


  1. Wow, that is a hell of an origin story for your blog. Really makes mine seem pretty dull by comparison. But at least you seem mostly in a better place now.

  2. You write so elegantly and so honestly that I'm rendered pitifully speechless. It has been a honour becoming your friend and your fan. I salute you most humbly. I am proud to follow this blog and look forward to reading more. I love Penny.

    I'm not attending the party naked! No way!

  3. Gary, I am proud to call you my friend! You are an amazing man who has pulled himself up from despair. I know you will continue to flourish and help other people.

    Congratulations on having a blog for 5 years!

    May this week bring you joy and happiness....and some fun. :)

  4. A most worthy reason to begin blogging.....you have come so far. Before too long I shall swing open the doors of my mansion and proclaim it "Gary Day". The helicopter will land shortly as close to your abode as possible. Be there or be square as the saying goes.

  5. Hey Gary, what you have accomplished shows much bravery. I havn't known you long, but I have grown to appreciate you and Little Penny, internet star.

    Keep writing, keep sharing, keep helping us to continue learning.

    bert's My Vickie

  6. Congratulations, Gary, for having stuck with the dream of that little boy and continued to write for five years! That is a major accomplishment!

    You reveal through your writings just how strong and compassionate a human being you are - and you're an inspiration to so many! Keep the faith, keep true to yourself, and keep writing your words of comfort and wisdom.

    Penny, you're a star in our book, too! You three are blessed to have each other. Happy 5 years, here's to a bright, wonderful future!

  7. Happy 5 years! Can you imagine? All the things you've written and all the people who have read your posts. You are loved.

  8. Congratulations on your 5 year anniversary Gary. Your moving blog has inspired so many people and will continue to do so. You are a very brave man and I hope that over the next five years you will find some peace and happiness out of the pain. Best wishes and enjoy the party! Di x

  9. You've gone through so much suffering and so many trials, leaving you on the brink of complete destruction yet you still help and support others with your blog, supportive words here there and everywhere, Gary. You're a true friend with a real blog that shares real honest truths and feelings.

    You've helped me out and I know you helped many others out. You've also taught folks that mental health issues should not be taboo but discussed, instead. Nobody gets hep and can move on unless the problem is brought out in the open in the first place. People should be honest with themselves first and honest with everyone else after that. I'm really fortunaate to have met "online" a caring guy like you, Gary. You still have a hell of a sense of humor even with all you've been through with those horrible ordeals- The bullying, the wife taking your son and getting pregnant by another man and on and and on. I don't know how you've had the friggin' strength to survive and barrel through any of that. Yet you have. You have my sincere deepest admiration, in spades.

    I'll be going over to that blog you talked about for the "party" tomorrow, likely. I've gotta hit the proverbial hay. I got a late start getting on the internet tonight due to my own little ongoing fiascos and turbulence. but I will check out/comment on your recent posting before this and others soon. I just really wanted to let you know how I felt about ya and your great blog before I went to sleeepy sleep. Take care, man.

  10. 5 years! Congratulations that is an awesome achievement...and I love the idea of a Blog Party!

    Having only just stumbled on to your blog I can see why it's so popular and I love your honest style of writing...here's to another 5 years :)

  11. Well done! You have truly turned your life around. Will check out the blog party, and my best clothes of course! :)

  12. Happy Blogoversary!! What a journey so far! I'm glad I managed to hop along for the ride! I am especially in super AWE with the adorable Penny and am totally entranced with the saga of your Wee Folks. You and your son are amazing.

    Take care

  13. Happy Blogaversary Gary! I look forward to many more years of your sharing and caring. Look at how far you've come and all the people you've touched! You are loved. Congratulations. Not just for five years of writing, but for all you've risen above and all you've learned and share with us.

    I have to go get ready. See you at the party! xx Laura

  14. Happy anniversary! Ok, so I crashed your party sneaking in behind Susan in her fabulous dress and shoes---Cheers, well done!

  15. Well done, my friend.

    You've suffered, and you've fought back, and in doing so, act as inspiration to others. I've fought depression in my past, and nearly died because of it. You have my admiration for both getting clean and your tenacity.

    All the best,


  16. Hi Gary .. I think it's great you found a way through and your son came to be with you .. the pair of you make a great father and son.

    Congratulations on five years .. shows where your talent is .. here with us, with Penny and with 'dem peskie gnomes ...

    It's good to have you with us - or rather I should say I'm pleased I found you .. as you and Penny have been blogging a while longer than I have .. and Penny is the Star - and I'm in her shade down south ...

    So glad things have improved and are holding together ... many thoughts to you especially, Tristan and of course Penny with her menagerie ... hugs .. Hilary

  17. Hello, Gary,

    It's good to make your acquaintance. I just found your blog today while stalking some other blogs. Five years, huh? I'm going on five months and I'm just seeing a ray of hope in the blogosphere. I'd like to tag along with your blog for awhile, if that's okay. I'll be nice!

  18. Dear Gary,
    A heart rending story indeed. I knew of some of your trials Gary, but did not realise just how close you came to not making it.
    Fortunately, now, with the help of Tristan, Penny and, of course, the wee folk, you are a glowing example of true guts and spirit. Congratulations, then, on your brilliant recovery. You are indeed an inspiration.
    From your friend,

  19. Came here from the party at Delores' to wish you a very happy blogoversary. And congratulations on overcoming your obstacles, and on having your son with you again. Count me in as your newest follower.

  20. Great story! I'm glad you have learned to overcome your hardships and turned them into postives!

  21. Congratulations to you, your son, and least not least, Penny. With your own courage, you've shown us, too, how to overcome!

  22. I've been here before (sent by Delores) and you and I have a lot in common. If you stop by my blog and click on My Life, you'll see that there is always hope...:)JP

  23. Wow five years, that is quite the while and quite the origin story too.

  24. Wow, what an incredible beginning. You had no place to go but up from those depths.
    Congratulations on five years and for the awesome life you now lead.

  25. Hi Uncle Grumpy Bulldog,
    Yes, I reckon it does make for a hell of an origin story for my blog. My blog actually started as part of a blogging 'library' of like-minded bloggers. Sadly, the library has basically closed.
    Each of our origin stories has its own precious validity. It's my honour to get to know you.
    I'm mostly in a better place. Wishing you peace, positivity and happy writing.
    With respect, Gary

  26. Hi Joylene,
    Thanks, my friend and you have been, very much, an inspiration in my ongoing personal pursuit towards a better life.
    Your kind words resonate with warmth and I'm honoured that we are friends.
    Penny, just like me, is a huge admirer of your writing and your gift of genuine humanity.
    I see you managed to keep your clothes on at the party! Such restraint on your part :)
    Much respect, your way, Gary

  27. Hi Sharon,
    I'm touched by your words and I'm proud to call you a friend.
    I like to think that I'm proof that we can embrace positive possibilities and never allow a negative environment to overwhelm our right to a happy life.
    Thank you for the congratulations on my fifth anniversary of blogging.
    Here's to joy, happiness and fun, to you, to me, to all of us :)

  28. Hi Delores,
    Indeed, my blog has been a positive, therapeutic resource for me. The ethos shall continue to be trying to bring further awareness and remove the misconceptions that have been portrayed about mental health concerns. We really are all in this together. It's nice to know we do not have to be alone.
    The party you so kindly held for me and for the rest of the cast on my site, turned out to be better than we could have ever anticipated. Despite our delay in arriving, we were most overwhelmed by your kindness and all those other blogging guests who graced me with their presence. Much gratitude to you, Delores. Much gratitude to all.
    With respect and kindness, Gary

  29. Hey Vickie,
    Thank you for thinking I'm brave. I somehow found that last little bit of resilient positive energy within and focused on what would become a newer, better reality :)
    Indeed, our electronic friendship is but still new. Yet, I am heartened and I very much respect the wonderful, thoughtful blog that you and the awesome Bert, share with us. Penny is a great admirer of Bert :)
    I shall continue to write and we can continue to learn and share from each other. This is powerful.
    Much respect, your way, Gary and of course, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star! :)

  30. Hi Kim,
    I thank you for the congratulations and yes, the little boy's dream got lost in a world of bullies and corruption. The positive aspect to all of that was that when it finally ended, the spark that I thought extinguished, was still flickering away in the heart of the inner child.
    Thanks Kim and it has always been my goal to demonstrate true, sincere caring through the magic of the written word. And when I inspire, I grow with further inspiration. I shall remain true to myself and transparent. If I can show hope to others, that they need not feel alone, then I have accomplished something truly remarkable.
    Penny thanks you and says how much she admires what you do on your worthy site and how much she cares about your lovely dog, CindyLu :)
    I am blessed and I am grateful for all that is good in my life. Despite my doubts and worries, I know all will be okay. Here's to a bright, wonderful future to you, also :)
    Much appreciation and warm wishes, Gary

  31. Be proud of yourself, you have done something to take care of your problem and now you are a terrific writer.
    Happy Anniversary, surely we will all join in the celebration. "To your good health and happy writing!

  32. Hi middle child,
    Thank you very much. It's hard to imagine that the five years have gone by so quickly.
    It's been a most heartening and inspirational five years. I'm blessed to have such interaction and I know that we share a common purpose of trying to verbalise our valid thoughts and try to make some sense of it all.
    Thank you, dear friend. I'm very grateful.
    With admiration for your resilience and your sense of humour on your thoughtful blog, Gary :)

  33. Hi Diane,
    Thank you for the congratulations on my five year anniversary. You are very kind and I hope that my story of determination to turn my life around, will continue to give comfort to those who may not see the hope that can lie beyond the perception of a hopeless situation.
    Thank you for the wishes of a peace and happiness beyond the pain. I reckon the next five years will get even better :)
    Take very good care Diane.
    Party on and happy writing to you.
    Warm wishes, your way, Gary x

  34. your post brought me to tears.
    I cannot begin to tell you how much I admire ALL that you have accomplished, you are a SURVIVOR in every sense of the word.

    my step-daughter suffers from mental health issues, so to some extent I understand.

    Kudos to your son for being so brave in coming to live with you and I am so sorry for the pain and anguish that led up to that point.

    Happy, happy 5th blog-o-versary...I doubt that not only could I ever make it that long blogging, but I doubt that ANYONE would ever want to read me that long!

  35. Hi Kelly,
    My good friend, thank you so much for such a thoughtful, kind and transparent comment. I'm trying to live with, rather than suffer from all that caused me so much distress. In fact, trying to be of support and encouragement for others, has helped my realise what a valuable resource that our interaction can be for each other. To share our concerns, our doubts, can be a most therapeutic exercise. I'm honoured that we are friends and that we are okay with sharing our valid feelings.
    You've articulated it superbly. I do try to help others and the beauty of that is that it also helps me. Mental health issues and we both know, should not make us feel ashamed. Situations happen that can really test us. We realise that it can be genetics and it can be environmental, or a combination of both, that leads us to despair and a sensation of feeling helpless and hopeless. However, we must never dismiss the help that is on hand. I believe that we can create a most positive resource through this powerful and empathetic interaction. You have displayed great courage by showing your own doubts and insecurities. Through this cleansing, we can continue to seek out a better, healthier and happier life.
    Being truly honest about ourselves is a huge step to recovery. And for sure, we must show that honesty to others. I know that folks respect honesty that shows, hey I cannot do this alone.
    We both know that laughter is the best medicine. And behind our good natured humour also reveals the serious aspects to our personalities. I look back to those awful times with a sense of irony that is lessened somewhat, by trying to see how far I have come and how much better I feel when I can laugh.
    I wonder how I survived those times. Luckily, I found that inner strength and I focused on my son. Luckily and profoundly, I have the great privilege of blogging buddies like you.
    Glad you finally arrived after a some sleepy sleep. Delighted you decided to keep your clown suit on and did not thrill the ladies with your manly charms :) You really would of been the life of the party.
    Don't worry about backtracking through my previous posts. I'm just grateful for your ongoing support and your inspiring, candid comment.
    With much respect and admiration, your way, Gary

  36. Hi G,
    Thank you, kind sir and the Blog Party has turned out to be even bigger than any party held by the Kardashians, who evidently, are the latest alien race in an upcoming Star Trek movie :)
    That's very kind and I'm grateful that we have connected. Your satirical blog is just the tonic on a dull and dreary day. I appreciate your kind wishes and your flattering words.
    Take very good care and keep folks smiling.
    With respect, Gary

  37. Hi Jenny,
    I thank you and I'm so proud that I managed to turn my life around. There was a time that was but a blurry dream.
    And what an informative and pictorial delight, your lovely site is :)
    You looked stunning at the party! :)
    Much respect to you, Gary

  38. Hi Old Kitty,
    Thank you so much. Your words are very encouraging and I'm so glad our blogs have had so much interaction. I hope that the journey will continue to show more special moments of positivity :)
    Ah yes, Penny, what a clever dog. If only I could learn from her pawsitive pawstings!
    Here's to you, lovely Old Kitty and to your adorable cat, Charlie :)
    Peaceful wishes your way, Penny, my son, the 'wee folks' and yours truly, Gary.
    Happy writing and take care,

  39. Holy Hoser Moly!! 5 years?! Quite impressive, my friend. But, even more so - admirable that you work so tirelessly to help chip away at the stereotypes which have barnacled themselves onto that which is "mental health." Those stereotypes and misinformation create the worst in people, unfortunately. And it's hard to be on the stereotyped end of the mental health spectrum - it hurts. But very kind, decent and principled folks like you help to "re-educate" and take the sting out of it for so many others. You, my friend, are a ROCK STAR! (come on, hoser...you didn't really think I could stay SO serious for too long, did you?! hee hee hee). I'm so glad that your blog has "taken off, eh?" And high-five to Penny - she really saves your ass when you're feeling lazy, y'know? She is a helluva stand-in and has my undying respect! Congrats, Gar!!! Love n hugs from across the pond.

  40. Hey Laura,
    Thank you very much for "Happy Blogaversary" wishes!:) I am very glad that we can share and care with each other, indeed, be of support and help each other.
    I hope that through my adversity, I can inspire more folks to know that they can find a way and need not feel alone in their road to recovery. I am so grateful that you are here and that we can share our hopes and dreams for a better world, a better life, for all of us.
    Thanks for the dance at the party. Very patient of you considering I dance like a 'dad':)
    Thanks Laura, keep smiling and stay positive.
    Kind wishes, Gary

  41. Hi Siv Maria,
    Thanks for that and very nice to meet you here after um 'crashing' the party. You were a most welcome addition :)
    Cheers to you, my friend.
    With respect, Gary

  42. Hi Pearl,
    Thank you and I admire your courage to comment in such a candid, sincere and transparent way.
    And depression, the insidious illness can so overwhelm us that we see no alternative but a sad, lonely finality. And yet, we both have found the inner positive spirit that, and with the help of others, has helped us move on to a brighter and happier future.
    I was a slave to the master that was alcohol. This slave escaped and found the freedom he desperately wanted.
    I know that you have discovered what a powerful, positive resource writing can be. Much respect and admiration, your way. We inspire and we are inspired by others.
    In peace, Gary

  43. Thank you for sharing your struggles and your victories with us all. I have been at the bottom of a well, and looked up for sunshine. Glad to hear that you have climbed up and out, fight the battles, and have your son.

    Had a grand time at your party!

  44. Congratulations. On so many levels. Wasn't it a wonderful party? That Delores throws the best parties.
    I hope that today you are feeling cherished.
    The story about the birth of your blog has moved me to tears.
    Thank you.

  45. Hi Gary. The real tribute to your wonderful achievements is the huge number of regular commenters here.
    It's taken me about fifteen minutes to read them all!
    I'm eagerly looking forward to the next five years. Congratulations
    Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

  46. Happy Anniversary Gary....here's to many more years of blogging and no more years of suffering.

    Take Care


  47. Just one little problem Gary...Penny has been discovered sleeping in my kitchen sink (and she's not alone I might add). I'll have the private jet bring her home to you as soon as she shakes off her massive hangover. Does anyone happen to know where this other jack russel lives?

  48. Hi Hilary,
    Thank you for those encouraging words, Hilary. Indeed, when I almost died, I thought about my son and found the inner resolve to pull through. My son saved my life.
    Thank you for the congratulations on the fifth year of this blog. Penny and those pesky gnomes have helped me share my hopes, dreams and desires for a better world for all of us.
    I'm pleased that we share such supportive and caring interaction. We know you have not blogged as long as us, but your thoughtful and informative blog has been of significant impact to our lives. For that, Penny, the 'wee folks' and myself, are most grateful.
    I am heartened by your kind wishes for Tristan, Penny and me. I visualise a brighter future and I know we all share that dream. A dream we can make a beautiful reality.
    Much respect to you, hugs, Gary

  49. Greetings Jackie Jordan,
    Thank you and delighted to make your acquaintance. I am honoured that you have taken the time to leave a comment. Yes, my new friend, amazingly, I have maintained this blog for five years.
    And a warm welcome to the wonderful world of blogging. I embrace the diversity, the all different, all equal, blogging community. I believe we can be a force for good, for a better understanding in this crazy, mixed up world.
    Jackie, thank you for being here :)
    With respect and happy writing, your way, Gary

  50. Dear David,
    My good friend, I was very close to dying in hospital. And then I reached out to the freedom that beckoned beyond the pain.
    With the help of focusing on what I cherish, my recovery towards an even better life, grows ever stronger.
    I do try to inspire and be there for others. Empathy, as we both know, is very powerful. You have been here from the outset as our blogs were born embracing the same ideals. Our blogs were born in the "mindblogging" library, an ethos that touched the hearts of many, worldwide. And you and I are but the sole survivors of such a noble concept. http://www.magmh.org.uk/mindblogging.html

    David, you are a dear friend and you are an inspiration to me. Thank you.
    With very respectful wishes, your way, Gary

  51. Hi Susan Flett Swiderski,
    Ah yes, quite the party! Of course, being so shy, I spent the first two hours hiding behind the sofa :)
    And thank you very much for the blogoversary wishes. Very nice of you to note my progress as I continue on with renewed vigour towards better times for my son, myself and all of us.
    Thank you for linking in. I'm honoured you would do so :)
    With respect and kind wishes, Gary

  52. Hi Heather Murphy,
    Thank you and I know we both embrace the positive possibilities beyond the negativity that can be all consuming.
    In peace and kindness, Gary

  53. Hi Susan Scheid,
    Thank you for the congratulations to all of us and most assuredly, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star! :)
    And to live life with realistic positive anticipation, rather than negative speculation, is a wondrous place to be.
    Much respect and admiration, your way, Gary

  54. Hi A Quiet Corner,
    Really pleased that Delores sent you this way :)
    Indeed, I have stopped by your blog and had a good check of it. In fact, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star, has left a comment. And there is always hope. Beyond what appears hopeless, is a positive reality.
    With respect, Gary

  55. Hi Pat Hatt,
    Thank you and I actually left out some of the harrowing details. Yet, it was indeed, quite the origin story.
    In kindness, Gary

  56. Hi Alex J. Cavanaugh,
    How true. From the depths of despair rose a new, better, more positive reality.
    I thank you for the congratulations on my five years. I'm blessed with a much better life. I knew I would make it so.
    Thanks Alex and continued happy writing to you, good sir.
    With respect and kind wishes, Gary

  57. Hi Munir,
    Thank you and I'm proud of all I have accomplished. Those dark times pointed me back to what had been the dream of a little boy. I am now using the positive resource that is writing to move forward and try to make sense of it all.
    Thank you for the anniversary wishes and I wish to celebrate the kind interaction of your good self and all those I've had the great pleasure to get to know.
    Happy writing and good health to you, to me, to all of us :)
    With much respect, your way, Gary

  58. Hi Cat Chat With Caren And Cody,
    Thanks Caren and I'm truly touched by your kind, thoughtful words. And this survivor gains further inspiration from heartfelt messages such as yours.
    And through the further awareness of those with mental health issues, does indeed, bring further understanding. Mental health concerns can impact on anyone's well being. Your step-daughter is blessed to have you in her life.
    It was the most difficult thing my son has ever done. A twelve year old child telling his mother he wanted to live with dad. The anguish he experienced. I am very proud of him through what have been such traumatic times.
    Thank you for the fifth anniversary wishes. Very much appreciated. No worries. You will have plenty of avid readers after that much time. Get Cody to do the writing. After all, when Penny writes on this site, it keeps the interest going! :)
    Thanks Caren and take good care.
    In kindness, Gary

  59. Hey The Reckmonster,
    Yo Reck aka Michelle, good here, aint it eh, you hoser! :)
    Unbelievable but true, this here blog has been going for five years. We both know, all too well, the unfair stigmas and stereotypes that still surround mental health issues. Yet through the true ethos of this blog, we have chipped away at those popular misconceptions that a lot of folks assumed to be true. We both try to bring further understanding that those who have mental health concerns are so much more than their issues. In fact, more people are realising that environmental situations can be detrimental to their mental health well being. That is where we have to all do our bit to be here for each other. That is something, dear lady, you excel in with your noble career.
    I sense a continued reduction in the unfair stigma attached to mental health. We are all in this together and that's very powerful.
    Yep, I'm a "ROCK STAR!" And RECK...you ROCK!
    And thank goodness for Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star! It is so kind of her to take over when I cannot find the energy to formulate some kind of almost legible, bordering on coherent, writing. She is the star of this site and yes, I'm kinda' jealous of her. She just lurves y'all. Know what I'm sayin'?
    Thanks for the congrats, Michelle.
    Love and hugs back atcha' from this here side of the lil' ol' pond n'stuff!
    Now take off eh, you hoser! :)
    Much respect and gratitude, your way, Gary

  60. Hi Susan Kane,
    Thank you for commenting and I truly wish that sharing my own personal struggles and the ensuing moments of triumph, would help inspire others to seek that positive option that may just seem a distant dream.
    May you continue to bask in the warm reassuring glow of the sunshine that beckoned you from that bottom of the well.
    And thank you for that very clever posting you put up on your site about the party over at Delores' site. Very kind of you and it was nice to see you at the party! :)
    In peace and goodwill, your way, Gary

  61. Hi The Elephant's Child,
    Thank you kindly for the congratulations. And Delores holds the best parties and we were the envy of Hollywood! :) A glittering night with the nicest, kindest bloggers in the entire world and beyond. Indeed, despite my low self esteem, I feel cherished. That truly touches my heart and my gratitude goes is deeply profound.
    Thank you and through the tears, we all see the hope for a better life for all.
    Much respect to you, Gary

  62. Hi bazza,
    I'm overwhelmed and amazed at how many commenters I get on my site. I feel very much a part of an intimate community. My blog had always desired positive interaction and folks verbalising their dreams, concerns and ideals. I am blessed with such sincerity and kindness.
    Thank you, my good friend, for the congratulations. I look forward to our ongoing interaction between our two blogs, over the next five years and hopefully, beyond.
    With much respect to you, Gary

  63. Hi GEM,
    Thank you, dear lady, for the anniversary thoughts. Much appreciated. And without suffering, I shall endeavour to continue with this blog and its ideals, for some time to come.
    In peace and warm wishes to you in Russia, Gary

  64. Hi Delores,
    I was wondering what happened to Penny. I reckoned she was being pursued by the Canadian puppyarazzi.
    And to sink, sorry, to think she was in your sink with a mystery Jack Russell. I shall get that helicopter, with a full tank this time, to take me to Manchester airport to retrieve that hopefully sober etc, Penny :)
    Thanks again for that party. It was just the best. And all those dances with all those lovely ladies. And that dance with you. My goodness, can you dance!
    Cheers and party on! Gary :)

  65. Gary
    A pat on the back for surviving. You have had more then your fair share of down times and your story is gut wrenching. It has been a building block of sorts from where you were to where you are now. Keep that in mind.

  66. Thank you so much for popping over to my place. It was much appreciated.

  67. Gary, five years! What an achievement!

    With everything that you went through, to come out and follow your dream wish such persistence and positivity is a true testament to your inner strength. I admire that and I admire you.

    You took something that you struggled with -- your illness - and made it into something that you inspire others with. That takes courage and a willingness to help others which is totally unselfish.

    Congratulations and best wishes. Here's to hoping for five more years of this blog.


  68. AMAZING that you've been blogging for five years, Gary! Even more amazing is that you manage to write so many honest posts filled with laughter, tears, rage, frustration, excitement, silliness....yes the adjectives go on and on and on. I am so happy, no...really more like over the moon that I have gotten to know you. I'd like to have half of the resiliency, good humor and integrity that you have. So here's a toast of sparkling juice to your blog and to our friendship. Congratulations!

  69. Hi Ray,
    I thank you for the pat on the back. And from adversity comes a new awareness and determination that the dark places are somewhere I never wish to visit again.
    I always keep in mind just how far I have come and how much better I am.
    Thanks Ray and I hope you have a peaceful weekend. Um..time for a coffee :)

  70. Hi The Elephant's Child,
    It was my honour to visit your excellent blog. I shall try to visit again, very soon. I appreciate your acknowledgement. Thank you.
    With respect, Gary

  71. Hi Jai,
    I thank you and I sometimes wonder how I've managed to keep it going this long.
    Very kind of you to note that my dreams, my passion for a better way, has been due to my positive focus on creating an environment more conducive to mental health well being.
    I firmly believe that with transparency, of not being ashamed that I was unwell, I can help, encourage and reassure others, in a similar plight, that there can be a way forward. When I try to help others, I help myself. That is one heck of an outcome.
    I appreciate your congratulations and best wishes. And now for the next five years.
    Thanks so much, Jai and delighted to see you have been blogging again. You are a superb writer.
    Much respect and admiration, your way, Gary

  72. Hi THE SNEE,
    It is amazing that I have been blogging for five years. I really should get some sleep :)
    Thanks and I am flattered by your kind words. I know we both realise what a therapeutic outlet writing can be. I like to use different genres and styles of writing to keep my last couple of brain cells active. It really does help me get through life. And the interaction we share, is a blessing.
    It has been my great pleasure and honour to have gotten to know you that little bit better over the last couple of years. I know that beyond your satirical writing, lies a deeply caring and compassionate lady.
    And thus I raise a glass of sparkling juice and rejoice in our virtual friendship. Thanks Rebecca.
    With much respect and kindness, your way, Gary

  73. Gosh, I'm sorry I missed the blog party, Gary, but I'm glad you have kind and loving people in your life. Your Origin story is sad and tragic and inspiring and triumphant, all at once. I've had my own issues with mental crisis and wouldn't wish it upon another person. But I've learned through it all to keep focusing on what I do have instead of what I do not, what is good instead of what is bad. Good luck, always and forever. I wish you all the health and happiness in the world.

  74. Hi Nancy,
    We were sorry you missed the party. We saved you some virtual cake :)
    I'm blessed to have such kind and caring interaction amongst the fine blogging community. I'm grateful to you, Nancy.
    It's heartening to know that you focus on all the positive aspects to your life. All that you do have instead of what you don't.
    Thank you for your transparency. We truly are all in this together.
    Thank you for your uplifting wishes. May you continue to embrace all that is positive in your life.
    Much respect and happy writing, your way, Gary


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.